Saturday Night Live Season Opens with Guest Hillary Clinton

Miley Cyrus Hosts Hilarious Season Premiere Episode

miley cyrus snlOn Saturday night, October 3, 2015, the forty-first season of Saturday Night Live debuted on NBC. This comedy sketch series has been running since its premiere in October 1975, originally created by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. Lorne Michaels still runs the show today, having only taken a brief hiatus from 1980 to 1985. The season is directed by Don Roy King, as it has been since 2006. In the debut episode, the host and musical guest was Miley Cyrus, the 22 year-old Disney teen idol turned avant garde, irreverent pop star. Miley was hilarious in her comedic performances, introducing the show with her husky confident voice. She also performed three musical numbers, all slow paced and accentuated by extravagant costumes. For instance, for one number she wore a gigantic blond wig of dread locks, and her mic stand was also dressed in the same hair. In another number, she played the grand piano which was dressed in as outrageous an outfit as she was. She opened the show making a self-congratulatory remark about her short-term memory problems due to drug use, fulfilling her own reputation as a wild child. However, overall she came off as ebullient and exceedingly happy, fitting right in among the comedic experts in the scenes, and performing her songs with gusto.

A Political Emphasis with Guest Appearance by Hillary Clintonhillary clinton snl

The show opened with an SNL performer playing Donald Trump, and another playing his wife Melania. They poked fun at many of Trump’s ridiculous behaviors, including his attitude towards women, his stance on immigration, and his success in the polls due to extreme statements. However, the main political guest of the evening was certainly Hillary Clinton. SNL took no pains to hide the fact that they support the candidate and believe she has an exceedingly good chance of winning the presidency. On the other hand, they made fun of all the Republican candidates through a spoof commercial on a pharmaceutical drug that gives the Republicans a dose of reality, allowing them to realize they were crazy to think they could ever be president. In Hillary’s cameo, the camera begins solely on her doppleganger, SNL regular Kate McKinnon who has been playing Hillary for a long time. Previously, Amy Poehler portrayed Hillary in a more sympathetic way. Nevertheless, the interaction between McKinnon and Clinton was more than congenial; it rang of true friendship and mutual appreciation. In the scene, McKinnon plays Clinton at a bar ready for a stiff drink. When the bartender turns around, she is none other than Hillary Clinton herself. The material barely entered controversial territory, as Clinton’s media team must have had approval over the script. Rather, the scene succeeded in portraying Clinton as very human and with a great sense of humor, at a time when her public image needs it.

Ratings at a High; Future Episodes Hosted by Amy Schumer and Tracy Morgan

For the first episode of the forty-first season, ratings were up by 13% from the premiere episode of the fortieth season one year ago, which featured Chris Pratt and Ariana Grande. This is the highest rating for an episode of SNL since last January. As for the show’s key demographic, adults aged 18 to 49, the ratings were just slightly down from last year’s premiere. Next week’s episode will be hosted by Amy Schumer, who is having an amazing year between her feature film Trainwreck and her successful Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer. The week after that will be hosted by Tracy Morgan, formerly of the television show 30 Rock. These comedians are sure to draw further ratings boosts, as the show makes efforts to maintain their audience through a more attractive timeslot, a more racially diverse cast, and a continually hilarious way of keeping their finger on the pulse of current and political events.

“Saturday Night Live” 40th Anniversary Special

saturday night liveA Star-Studded Three Hour Event

On February 15, 2015, NBC’s Saturday Night Live will air a three hour 40th anniversary special to celebrate four decades on television. The actual premiere of the late-night sketch comedy and variety show took place on October 11, 1975. Though this anniversary celebration may be eight months early, this special event is sure to attract a lot of attention due to its star-studded excitement. The occasion will welcome many previous cast members of SNL, along with past guests, who will be joining the present cast members and a slew of exciting live performances. The last time a big anniversary was celebrated on the show was 1999, when the twenty-fifth was honored. Compared to that special, executive producer Lorne Michaels said that this fortieth anniversary would feature more live performances in comparison to pre-taped bits. He also mentioned that every host and cast member from history was invited, and that he doesn’t expect all of them to come. However, when a positive RSVP was received from any of them, that’s when their team began writing sketches surrounding their involvement. In any event, this show is certainly something special, as it has been presided over by the same individual, Lorne Michaels, since it first began 40 years ago. That has allowed the brand to grow into one of the most highly regarded comedy shows today.

A Brief SNL Historysaturday night live

The origins of Saturday Night Live date back to 1975. At that time, NBC had been filling the Saturday night timeslot with reruns of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. However, Carson requested that the network remove these episodes from the weekend so that they could be saved for occasional weekday fillers, when Carson wanted to take a night off. Therefore, NBC was tasked with finding a new show to fill this crucial time period, and Lorne Michaels was approached. The NBC president at the time Herbert Schlosser tasked his VP of late night programming Dick Ebersol with filling the slot. Thus Saturday Night Live was born, although it didn’t get that name until 1977, as the name was already in use by a show on ABC. Fortunately, the spectacular success of this comedic romp gave NBC the incentive to purchase the rights to this name. Early on, the show adopted the famous tagline, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”

Cast Members, Hosts, and Returning Guests

This year, the fortieth season of Saturday Night Live, includes a number of repertory players as well as featured players who will likely go on to lead successful comedy careers, as many SNL players have done in the past. Current cast members include Vanessa Bayer, Aidy Bryant, Taran Killam, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Moynihan, Jay Pharaoh, Cecily Strong, and Kenan Thompson. Each episode is hosted by a different individual; this season, hosts have included Chris Pratt, Sarah Silverman, Bill Hader, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Woody Harrelson, Cameron Diaz, James Franco, Martin Freeman, Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Blake Shelton, and J.K. Simmons. As for the past cast members and hosts who will be joining the 3-hour fortieth anniversary special, that waits to be seen. However, some names have been leaked. One interesting individual who will be showing his face on the special is Eddie Murphy, who made a point of never appearing on the show since he left in 1984. This opens up the possibility that any number of surprise guests may be making an appearance, and the special will certainly be an exciting one indeed.

Broadway’s Anna Kendrick to Host SNL on April 5

Anna Kendrick, the multi-talented actress and singer, has been tapped to host Saturday Night Live on April 5, 2014.  This will be her SNL hosting debut.  The telecast will also feature Pharrell, the seven-time Grammy Award winner known for his recent hit “Happy” from the animated film Despicable Me 2.  Created and executive produced by Lorne Michaels, SNL is filmed in front of a live studio audience at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.

anna kendrick on SNL Saturday Night LiveAnna Kendrick made her Broadway debut at the age of 12, when she played Dinah Lord in the 1998 production of High Society.  She was nominated for a Tony Award for this performance, but she has not appeared on Broadway since.  Subsequently, her career has mostly been focused on film, yet she has not forgotten her musical roots.  Her screen debut was 2003’s Camp, where she played nerd turned surprise diva Fritzi Wagner.  More recently, her fame skyrocketed due to her role in the a cappella themed film Pitch Perfect, as her performance of the song “Cups (When I’m Gone)” became the number 2 hit on Billboard’s Adult Pop Song Chart.  Furthermore, she has just finishing filming two musical screen roles: Cathy Hyatt in The Last Five Years and Cinderella in Into the Woods, both of which will be released later this year.

anna kendrick on SNL on 04/05/14 on NBC Saturday Night LiveSince its original airing in 1975, NBC’s weekly late night variety and sketch comedy show has often been a place for celebrities to let loose and stretch their versatility.  As such, there has often been an overlap between Broadway actors and SNL hosts.  The record for having hosted SNL the most number of times is held by Alec Baldwin (he hosted 16 times since 1990), who has been on Broadway 5 times.  His Broadway debut was Loot in 1986, and he was recently seen on stage in the 2013 production of Orphans.  Furthermore, many individuals who have hosted the Tony Awards over the years have also served as SNL hosts.  These include Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, Bernadette Peters, and Rosie O’Donnell, to name a few.  Even Seth MacFarlane, who hosted last year’s musical themed Academy Awards show, has also hosted SNL.

Anna Kendrick at the Toy Awards Red Carpet 2013

The list of Broadway performers who have hosted SNL does not end there.  Many A-list actors have been featured both in Broadway shows and also as the host of SNL.  For example, the stars of The Producers, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, have both served as SNL hosts.  So have Martin Short and Jason Alexander, who played those same roles in the Los Angeles production and US National Tour.  The stars of the film version of Chicago, Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones, have both hosted SNL.  Furthermore, there are several famous Hollywood actors who are presently appearing on Broadway, who have also served as SNL hosts.  These include James Franco, Alan Cumming, Daniel Radcliffe, and Bryan Cranston, among many more in recent years.

Anna Kendrick may not have been on Broadway since she was 12 years old, but she is nonetheless a beloved star of stage and screen, whose singing chops make her memorable as a musical theatre star.  After she makes her SNL hosting debut, and then appears back-to-back in two major musical film releases, we may see her on the Great White Way once again before too long.